An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Joining The Dots


Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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James Bramwell

Cadet, Jean-Marcel

Jean-Marcel Cadet (1751-1835) was French mineralogist, who was Inspector of Mines on Corsica for 25 years. He wrote a number of papers and books on the geology of the island. Included in his output was Memoire sur les jaspes et autres pierres precieuses de l’isle de Corse(a), published in 1785, in which he also reviewed Plato’s account of Atlantis in his Critias and Timaeus and concluded that Atlantis had been situated in the Atlantic.

James Bramwell[0184.137]  claims that Cadet was the first to express the view that Atlantis had been an island in the Atlantic and that the Canaries and the Azores were its remnants.

My previous entry under the name of Louis Claude Cadet de Gassicourt was completely incorrect, for which I apologise.

(a)  https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=X69gAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=Me%CC%81moire+sur+les+jaspes+et+autres+pierres+pre%CC%81cieuses+de+l’isle+de+Corse&source=bl&ots=wzGVKT4IHa&sig=pSzUhJ3MgY78tGxXEEXo9OAi8EI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjDurLt1ILNAhWKwBQKHYtIDacQ6AEILjAC#v=onepage&q=Me%CC%81moire%20sur%20les%20jaspes%20et%20autres%20pierres%20pre%CC%81cieuses%20de%20l’isle%20de%20Corse&f=false  

Atlantomaniac (m)

Atlantomaniac is the rather colourful term used to describe Atlantis believers who are ‘over-enthusiastic’ in their support for their pet theory. The earliest use that I can find is by James Bramwell in 1937 in his Lost Atlantis[195], who was describing the activities of a group who broke up a meeting in 1927 in Paris’ Sorbonne with ‘tear-gas’ as they objected to the views regarding Atlantis being expressed there(a).

*[Zhirov noted[0458.17] “that the interference of the atlantomaniacs has greatly harmed science, for it discredited the Atlantis problem in the eyes of many scientists.” Although he wrote this nearly half a century ago, it still holds true.]*

(a) http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/11082593

Speculum Regale, The (L)

The Speculum Regale (The King’s Mirror)(a) was written in Norway around 1250 AD. Bramwell notes that in it, Ireland was identified with Atlantis[195.181].

Bramwell was mistaken, referring to a land-under-the-waves (Tir fo thuinn) which is a term sometimes applied to Hy-Brasil a mythical sunken land to the west of Ireland.

(a) http://www.archive.org/stream/kingsmirrorspecu00konuuoft/kingsmirrorspecu00konuuoft_djvu.txt

Shewan, Alexander (L)

Alexander Shewan (1851- 1941) had worked for the Indian Civil Service but was better known as an Homeric scholar.

James Bramwell noted[195.88] that Shewan accepted that the Atlantis story had been familiar to the Egyptians but that it had been embellished with details from Crete.

Leslie Shepard in his Introduction to a 1968 edition of Lewis Spence’s The Histoy of Atlantis notes that it used be fashionable to jeer at the existence of Atlantis but, as the Homeric scholar, Professor Alexander Shewan points out, “that can hardly continue, now that Mr. Lewis Spence has examined the evidence at length in The Problem of Atlantis, Atlantis in America, and The History of Atlantis.”

Schoinos

Schoinos, which means ‘rope’ in Egyptian was an ancient unit of measurement which was the equivalent of 40 stadia but had huge regional variations ranging from 30 to 120 stadia(a). It was widely used throughout the Mediterranean and was adopted by the Greeks from the Egyptians around 2000 BC(d).

Albert Herrmann, quoted by Bramwell [195.117], attempted to make sense of the dimensions of the ditch surrounding the Plain of Atlantis by suggesting that Solon had been misled by an interpreter who converted the Egyptian measurements into Greek ‘podes’ (feet) but erroneously gave the results as ‘stadia’ exaggerating the data by a factor of thirty!

However, for me, Herrmann’s highly speculative theory makes little sense, if the ‘schoinos’ was used by the Greeks since 2oooBC, why convert it at all? Herodotus refers to it at least twice in his Histories (2.6(b) and 2.149(c))

(a) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schoenus

(b) http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hh/hh2000.htm

(c) http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hh/hh2140.htm

(d) http://www.slideshare.net/ideal90/metrication-timeline

Rivaud, Albert (L)

Albert Rivaud (1876-1955) was a French professor of philosophy and a classical scholar.  Ivar Lissner commenting[725.158] on the unfinished nature of theRIVAUD trilogy of Plato’s Dialogues which included Timaeus and the incomplete Critias, quotes Rivaud as saying that what we have contains “not only ancient traditions but also the results of the latest contemporary research carried out during Plato’s lifetime.”

Rivaud published a translation of the complete works of Plato in the early 1920’s. Volume 10 was Platon. Oeuvres complètes, Tome X.: Timèe, Critias. In it, according to James Bramwell[0195.91], he demonstrated that the term ‘orichalcum’ was known before Plato and not just an invention of his.

Later in his life Rivaud blotted his copybook with expressions of anti-Semitism and admiration for Hitler.

Strabo

Strabo (c. 64 BC – 23 AD) was an important Greek geographer and historian Strabowho wrote (i) of his full agreement with Plato’s assertion that Atlantis was fact rather than fiction.  *An English translation of his Geography (Geographica) in three volumes can be read online [1647].*

The location of the Pillars of Heracles, mentioned by Plato, is assumed by many to have always been situated near the Strait of Gibraltar. Other researchers have claimed that this was not the only location and have referred to various classical writers to support this contention, one of whom was Strabo, who records (ii) the variety of opinions regarding the location of the Pillars of Heracles among classical writers, adding that Alexander the Great on reaching the easternmost point in his military campaign erected an altar with ‘Pillars of Heracles’, giving further support to the view that the ‘Pillars’ were not a singular landmark but a feature that was to be found at different locations at different points in history. Strabo produced a map of Europe on which he located the ‘Pillars’ at Gibraltar in his day (1st century AD). Strabo also noted that, in the distant past 300 cities lined the coasts on either side of the Pillars.

Strabo also wrote (iii) of Hera’s Island as being one of two islands located near the Pillars of Heracles, beyond which was Gades in Spain. The two islands have not been identified. He was writing some centuries after Erathostenes had been the first to place the ‘Pillars’ at the western end of the Mediterranean.

James Bramwell has cast some doubt on the reliability of ancient geographers in general and Strabo in particular, whom he claims[195.129] oriented the Pyrenees as running north-south rather than their actual east-west.

I should mention that, coincidentally, a temple of Hera was discovered near Marsaxlokk on Malta, the larger of the two principal Maltese islands.

(i) Geographia (2.3.6/7)

(ii) Geographia (3.5.5)

(iii) Geographia (3.5.3)

Sea Level Changes

Sea Level Changes. Recent years have seen the production of ever more detailed data relating to sea level changes following the last Ice Age. In 2006 researchers discovered that the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska was created around 9000 BC, a thousand years earlier than previously thought.

Such changes could have had a direct bearing on the Atlantis mystery, particularly if Plato’s assertion that its inundation took place 9600 BC is true, as this would place the event at the end of the last Ice Age and the melting of the glaciers with the consequent raising of level of the oceans. Although we are usually given the impression that this deglaciation progressed steadily it would appear that in reality the process continued at different rates and was at times temporarily reversed.

Recent studies(f) have clearly indicated that aboriginal Australians have preserved memories of the rising sea level at the end of the last Ice Age.

A 2000 report(c) from Dr. Robert Baker and Professor Peter G.Flood from the University of New England in New South Wales, suggests that 4,000 years ago sea levels “may have been up to two metres higher than at present, and that sea levels have risen and fallen like a roller coaster over the last 6,000 years.” I would expect that sea levels two metres higher around 2000 BC would have left archaeological evidence on a global scale. Until that is forthcoming, I would treat this claim with caution.

Holocene_Sea_LevelEstimates of the total change in sea levels vary between 300 and 500 ft. The most recent studies have estimated the rate of sea level rise at an average of one metre per century punctuated by occasional increased rates of 2.5 metres per century(a). To complicate the picture further, many areas in northern latitudes that had been depressed by the weight of the enormous ice sheets of the last Ice Age, rose considerably as a result of isostatic rebound when the glaciers melted.

There is general agreement that the raising of the sea levels had dramatic consequences worldwide. Vast landmasses, such as Sundaland, the Celtic Shelf, and in the Caribbean were totally or partially submerged, leaving many of today’s islands as remnants. Communities that had flourished in these regions during the last Ice Age must have been devastated and naturally led to the generation of myths recalling their former glory. Atlantis is assumed to be one such legend with a firm basis in reality.

Other, more controversial effects have also been proposed, such as the breaching of a landbridge that had existed between Spain and North Africa at Gibraltar and/or a similar isthmus between Sicily and Tunisia. James Bramwell reports that in the 1930’s geologists spoke freely of the breaching of a Gibraltar dam around 15,000 years ago. More recently, writers such as Joseph S. Ellul, Sergio Frau and Paulino Zamarro have convincingly based their Atlantis theories on this concept. The Mediterranean sea level is discussed elsewhere.

Other writers have proposed an asteroidal or cometary impact as the cause of catastrophic flooding, but such inundations would have receded fairly rapidly. In the end we are left with the ending of the last Ice Age as the primary cause of profound changes in the topography of our planet that probably included the submergence of one civilisation that we now refer to as Atlantis.

However, Plato introduces another detail into his Atlantis narrative, namely that following the submergence of Atlantis it created a maritime hazard in the form of shoals. Plato wrote that “wherefore also the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal of mud which the island created as it settled down.” (Timaeus 25d). The implication of this is that the shoals still existed in either Solon’s or Plato’s lifetime. We must also keep in mind that the draft of ships, such as triremes, at that time was about a metre. The attached chart shows how between 5000 BC and the present, the rate of sea level has been relatively slow. Even allowing for any local seismic, tectonic or isostatic activity I would interpret the data to suggest two important facts; first, the flooding of Atlantis could not have taken place before 5000 BC and still be a hazard in the first millennium BC and secondly if it occurred after 5000 BC Atlantis must be still in shallow water.

Kurt Lambeck has demonstrated from a study of Roman fish pens that the sea level along the Italian coast, 2000 years ago, was 1.35 metres below today’s levels. His investigations also included a study of land elevations along the coast that may have been affected by seismic or tectonic processes and found that they had raised the land by 1.22 metres, indicating that global sea levels had risen by just 13cm over the past two millennia, most of which has occurred over the past century(d)! Lambeck’s conclusions have been severely criticised by Izabol Apulia(e).

Furthermore, if the destruction took place before 5000 BC then either Solon or Plato concocted the description of the shoals, which would have no purpose whatsoever!

Sea level changes in the Gulf of Mexico are discussed in an online pdf file(b). In the same region, there is now claimed to be evidence(g) confirming that sea levels were lower during the last Ice Age and that the Yucatan Peninsula was very much larger.

(a) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201120605.htm

*(b) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20120713234249/http://www.gly.fsu.edu/~donoghue/pdf/donoghue-climatic-change.pdf

(c) https://web.archive.org/web/20110912071448/http://www.abc.net.au/quantum/stories/s112352.htm*

(d) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1192397/posts

(e) See: Archive 2566

(f) http://theconversation.com/ancient-aboriginal-stories-preserve-history-of-a-rise-in-sea-level-36010

(g) http://phys.org/news/2016-11-dino-killing-crater-clues-ice-age.html

Flora and Fauna of Atlantis

The Flora and Fauna of Atlantis is mentioned by Plato in Critias;

“Besides all this, the earth bore freely all the aromatic substances it bears today, roots, herbs, bushes and gums exuded by flowers or fruit. There were cultivated crops, cereals which provide our staple diet. And pulse (to use its generic name) which we need in addition to feed us; there were the fruits of trees, hard to store but providing the drink and food and oil which gives us pleasure and relaxation and which we serve after supper as a welcome refreshment to the weary when appetite is satisfied – all these were produced by that sacred island, then still beneath the sun, in wonderful quality and profusion.” (115a-b)

James Bramwell noted how Leo Frobenius was convinced that his chosen Atlantis location of Yorubaland in Nigeria was reinforced by Plato’s description of the flora of his disappeared island[0195.119].

The lack of sufficient detail in the extract from Critias has led to a variety of interpretations. Jürgen Spanuth in support of his North Sea location for Atlantis has claimed[015.68] that during the Bronze Age the snow line in that region was higher than at any other time since the last Ice Age at 1,900 metres. He claims that as a result, grapes and wheat were cultivated there during that period.

The existence of the same species plants and animals on both sides of the Atlantic has been noted for some time, so when the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR) was discovered in the 19th century and subsequently combined with the realisation that sea levels had dropped during the last Ice Age, it was thought that a stepping stone, if not an actual landbridge, between the continents had been identified. This idea was popular with many geologists and botanists at the beginning of the 20th century, such R.F. Scharff and H.E. Forrest, both of whom also saw the MAR as the location of Atlantis, an idea that still persists today. Emmet Sweeney is a modern writer who also sees the earlier exposed MAR as an explanation for the shared transatlantic biota and is happy to identify the Azores as the last remnants of Atlantis[0700].

Andrew Collins has attempted to squeeze a reference to coconuts out of this text to support his Caribbean location for Atlantis. However, coconuts were not introduced into that region until colonial times(c)Ivar Zapp & George Erikson, driven by similar motivations had made the same claim earlier. My reading of the text is that Plato is describing food with which he is personally familiar.

Mary Settegast points out that around 7300 BC there is evidence of crop rotation including cereals at the Tell Aswad site in Syria.

The olive tree thrives best in the regions with a Mediterranean climate. Olive trees are mainly found between 25° and 45° N. latitude and, as for France, only in the Mediterranean area.

Ignatius Donnelly devoted Chapter VI(a) of his Atlantis tome to a review of the Atlantean flora and fauna. The print media at the start of the 20th century kept the general public aware of these theories(b).

(a) http://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/ataw/ataw106.htm

(b) http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/189397134?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=

*(c) https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtomics/httpblogsscientificamericancomthoughtomics20110801coconuts-not-indigenous-but-quite-at-home-nevertheless/*

de Prorok, Count Byron Khun

Count Byron Khun de Prorok (1896-1954) has been variously described an American with a Polish title or as a Pole married to an American. He was originally a conventional archaeologist having worked on the site of Carthage. He then developed into an adventurous deProrokexplorer in the early 1920’s and 1930’s whose escapades would have been worthy of Indiana Jones.

Perhaps his most famous achievement was the discovery of the tomb of the legendary Berber queen, Tin Hinan. However, this claim did not stand up to closer scrutiny as James Bramwell revealed in his Lost Atlantis[195.115].   

Khun de Prorock became convinced that Atlantis had a North African origin, specifically on the Hoggar Plateau(c).

He was author of a number of books recounting his experiences, including Digging for Lost African Gods, now available online(a).

His ‘discoveries’ were not given any serious consideration by orthodox archaeologists. He died unexpectedly in the mid-1950’s according to a report in the November/December 1958 edition of SykesAtlantis journal.

The Wikipedia account of deProrok’s life is also worth a read(b).

(a) https://archive.org/details/diggingforlostaf009795mbp

(b) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byron_Khun_de_Prorok

(c) https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YScDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=Djerba+Atlantis&source=bl&ots=JANWiuTfKc&sig=-U0aTI_DYl9rQN2BqL7AcfZRU30&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAjgKahUKEwiP66n3iMrIAhUDhywKHecuD7Y#v=onepage&q=Djerba%20Atlantis&f=false